For Teachers Old

Preparing the rope for the Lyle Gun
Learning about the boats and equipment used by the U.S. Life-Saving Service

Kerry Kelly 2005

Coming to the park this spring with a class? Here are our visitor center exhibition scavenger hunts:

1st and 2nd grade scavenger hunt

3rd and 4th grade scavenger hunt

5th grade scavenger hunt (answer key)

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is an outstanding natural classroom that provides educational opportunities to many schools and institutions each year. We hope you will use the resources here to plan a trip to the park or to share the information about this beautiful area of Michigan with your students in the classroom.

Sleeping Bear Dunes was created to preserve the outstanding natural features of this area including 71,000 acres of dunes, beaches, forests, inland lakes and rivers, and glacial phenomena. It also preserves cultural resources that reflect Great Lakes maritime and Michigan agricultural history.

Education is a primary mission of the park. Our goal is to provide high quality programs and services which include self-guided and ranger-led activities. If your school group is planning to come to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, you may be eligible for an Education Fee Waiver. We have also included some guidance to help you Plan a Field Trip.

Sleeping Bear Dunes is an expansive classroom filled with learning opportunities. Here are a few examples to wet your appetite for a Field Trip...

Philip A. Hart Visitor Center
Walk through the front door of the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire, MI and walk up to the large relief map to see what the area looks like.
View the 15 minute slide show that describes the legends and history of the area through beautiful photos that highlight beauty of the the seasons in the Lakeshore. Walk through the Natural Resource Exhibit while you are here.
Lake Michigan Waves

Experience the drama of Lake Michigan waves crashing along the beach...
Walk along a stretch of pristine Lake Michigan Beach. There are 35 miles of beach on the mainland with several access points.

Great Lakes Piping Plover
The staff at the Lakeshore have produced educational materials and activities revolving around the Great Lakes Piping Plover populations. You can download a Lesson Plan and Information Sheet with Review Questions.
Aqua Colors of Lake Michigan

Feel the wind, see the different shades of aqua in Lake Michigan, and be amazed at the size of the bluffs as you look up the coast and spot South Manitou Island...
Stand 450 feet above Lake Michigan on the edge of the perched dunes on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive.

Surfboat and Crew

Imagine your ship going aground in the Manitou Passage and a Life-Saving Service crewman shooting the Lyle Gun to your ship to save you and other passengers...
Visit the Maritime Museum and Boathouse to learn about the brave men who patrolled the beaches to save passengers and crew from sinking ships.

Charles Olsen Farm

Walk through the farmsteads of the past and listen for the voices of the farmers who tilled this soil...
Visit the Port Oneida Rural Historic District in the northern part of the park.

Snowshoe Tours

Feel the crisp, clean air and the quiet of a snow-covered forest as you identify the animal tracks in the snow...
Take a snowshoe hike through the snow-covered forest where no-one else has gone.


We hope you and your students unearth a vast array of new discoveries and find Sleeping Bear Dunes a perfect extended classroom. Explore this section of the web site to find resources to plan your field trip or find information that you can use in your classroom. Self-guided activities will give you ideas and resources that you can use to lead your class on a learning adventure any time. Ranger-guided activities must be pre-arranged with park staff. Our Rangers will share their in-depth knowledge with your students in a dynamic learning experience. It is sometimes difficult to schedule a Ranger during the busy times of the year, so plan ahead if you want to include one of these programs in your field trip.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

9922 Front Street
Empire, MI 49630


(231) 326-4700

Contact Us